NUJ: Ofcom is destroying local news on ITV

Ofcom’s proposals for the future of public broadcasting ‘set in train the destruction of local and regional news on ITV”, according to the National Union of Journalists.

The broadcasting regulator today set out three possible scenarios for the future of public service broadcasting after 2012 – all of which seem to envisage a greatly reduced role for ITV regional news.

It also gave backing for ITV to begin scaling back its public service commitments before digital switchover is complete in 2012, when the benefit of having one of the five terrestrial TV channel licences will no longer apply.

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: ‘With ITV poised to begin making cuts before Ofcom even completes its consultation, the regulator’s soft-touch approach has failed.

‘It is failing in its duty to strengthen public service broadcasting. It is failing to guarantee a future for diverse regional news. It is failing to adequately represent the interests of citizens.

‘Just as politicians have woken up to the importance of regulation in the financial sector, they must now recognise that we need a strong communications regulator that will stand up for the public interest.”

NUJ National Broadcasting Organiser, Paul McLaughlin, said: ‘Whilst all the evidence, including Ofcom’s own, suggests the public want more local television news services not less, sadly, and not for the first time, ITV wants to go completely in the wrong direction.”

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